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Department of State Health Services announces first “positive test result” for COVID-19 in Texas

The Texas Department of Health and Human Services
The Texas Department of Health and Human Services(The Texas Department of Health and Human Services)
Updated: Mar. 4, 2020 at 8:19 PM CST
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - The Texas Department of State Health Services and Fort Bend County Health and Human Services are reporting the first positive test result for COVID-19 in Texas, outside of passengers returned from China or the Diamond Princess Cruise Ship.

DSHS says the patient is a resident of Fort Bend County who recently returned from travel abroad and is currently isolated in the hospital.

Following tests performed at the public health lab in Houston, the results will be confirmed through testing by the CDC. DSHS says they are currently working with Fort Bend County to identify any close contacts of the patient while he was sick so they can be isolated and monitored for symptoms and quickly tested, if needed.

The release from DSHS says currently, they know about 80 percent of cases are mild with most people not needing hospitalization. The increased concern comes with older adults, and those with underlying health conditions such as heart or lung disease.

“Having a COVID-19 case in Texas is a significant development in this outbreak, but it doesn’t change the fact that the immediate risk to most Texans is low,” said Dr. John Hellerstedt, DSHS commissioner. “This travel-related case reinforces the fact that we should all be taking basic hygiene steps that are extremely effective in limiting limit the spread of COVID-19 and all respiratory illnesses.”

Governor Greg Abbott says the State of Texas has been anticipating the arrival of the virus, and he’s confident in the preperations in place, but he urges Texans to follow prevention tips provided by the DSHS.

“Over the past month, the state of Texas has been preparing for this moment, and we are confident in the steps we have taken to safeguard our communities against the coronavirus,” said Governor Greg Abbott. “We anticipated this situation, we have protocols in place, and our state agencies and personnel are trained and ready to respond. The state of Texas remains in contact with our federal and local partners, and we will continue to work together to ensure Texas communities have the resources they need to respond to any additional cases of the coronavirus. Our top priority is public health and safety, and I urge all Texans to follow the preventative guidelines provided by the Department of State Health Services.”

The DSHS provided these steps anyone can follow to help prevent spreading most diseases like COVID-19:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

The DSHS adds that while a travel-related case in Texas doesn’t indicate spread within the state, but DSHS, the Texas Division of Emergency Management, and all state agencies continue their ongoing preparations, working to limit the spread of the virus and protect Texans.

“Protecting and preserving the health and safety of Texans is at the very core of what we do at HHS. We will do everything we can to make sure Texans have the information and resources they need to take care of themselves and their families,” said Dr. Courtney N. Phillips, Texas Health and Human Services Executive Commissioner. “We have in place a comprehensive public health surveillance system to proactively identify, respond to and prevent the spread of disease, all led by the outstanding team at DSHS. Please watch our HHS social media channels and website for updates as events and circumstances warrant.”

Up-to-date information on Coronavirus can be found dshs.texas.gov/coronavirus, and DSHS will be sharing new information on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram at @TexasDSHS.

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